A visit from QPR and a trip to Anfield comprise the menu for a Gameweek 26 feast haunted by the prospect of famine for Swansea. With goalkeepers useful instruments in double-then-blank scenarios, the uncertainty around Michel Vorm’s availability imposes an ill-timed tactical restriction on Fantasy Managers. But with strong candidates abounding in defence and midfield, we run the rule over the surviving runners and riders from the Swansea ranks as another Double Gameweek deadline approaches.
The insolent gung ho of Swansea’s early outings this season seems to have given way to a more pragmatic approach of late. The best away defensive record in the league has kept Fantasy Managers in business whilst the headline hogs have stumbled over an itinerant schedule. Failing to find the net in their last three away games, investors in the Swans’ attack can still repose hope in their form at the Liberty, where they average over two goals a game since Christmas.
QPR are hardly sitting ducks: Harry Redknapp’s rejuvenated charges have been in formidable defensive nick this year, shipping just one goal in their last five games. Yet with personnel changes imposed at the back for the Hoops through defection and injury, Swansea’s fluent forays will doubtless test the cohesion of the replacement draft.
Liverpool have been imperious at Anfield of late: flinging twelve goals past Fulham, Norwich and Sunderland without reply. But with European commitments on the cards midweek for the Reds, the Swans might be fortunate enough to face a weakened, or at least, slightly fatigued eleven come next Sunday.
The Likely Lads
The points may have dried up in recent weeks for Michu, but the chances certainly haven’t. In spite of a seven game goalless run the Spanish sensation still tops the ownership charts on 49%, and those brave or foolish enough to forgo his services run the risk of being precipitated headlong down the rankings when he locates his shooting boots. Marouane Fellaini’s brace last weekend after a similarly barren spell furnished a valuable, some might say painful, reminder of the value of patience in Fantasy football – and whether leading the line or tucked in the hole, Michu will have no shortage of backers come Saturday. Currently priced at 8.4 in FPL (5.5 in Sky Sports) and languishing a distant fourth in this week’s captaincy poll, Fantasy Managers have the rare opportunity to make the most widely owned player in the game a differential captain in a double Gameweek.
Having spent most of the season deeper than Wittgenstein and scratching out an honest dollar from the Swansea set plays, a couple of elegant open play strikes in recent weeks have showcased Jonathan De Guzman’s capacity to make merry in more advanced positions. With Leon Britton partnering Ki Sung-Yueng in the double pivot last weekend at West Ham, De Guzman was pushed forward in support of Michu – and although the experiment was terminated after an hour by the introduction of Luke Moore, it seems likely that De Guzman will be given leave to weigh anchor whenever Michu is called upon to lead the line. Priced at 5.9 in FPL (4.7 in Sky Sports), owners of the Dutch international will have dead-balls to fall back on irrespective of his open play position.
Grabbing the baton from the unfortunate Neil Taylor in Gameweek 2, and wrecking the FPL pricing curve for the Swansea defence in the process, recent watchlistee Ben Davies has been the default Swans back-line pick around these parts for many months. His tidy finish against Stoke having advertised his merits to a wider audience, the young left back is now tipping the scales at 4.6 (3.6 in Sky Sports) – a sum perhaps more consummate with the dignity of his office. Still the cheapest option on show, and with more attacking points garnered than the rest of the Swansea defence combined, Fantasy Managers are hardly overwhelmed with incentives to broaden their horizons.
That said, Angel Rangel wangles his way into the reckoning from the right. With fullbacks given license to roam in the Swansea system, the high ground is very much down the flanks in defence. Although destitute of attacking returns since Gameweek 2, Rangel versus Davies on the members’ comparison tool makes for interesting reading, and with a current price of 4.7 in FPL (5.7 in Sky Sports), just 0.1 more than Davies, the Spaniard makes a good case for consideration.
Michu and De Guzman aside, the Swansea attack boasts more punts than an Inspector Morse box set. Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer and Pablo Hernandez are tussling for the two wide midfield slots, whilst Itay Shechter and Luke Moore are fighting what seems a mutually losing battle for the lone spot up top. Starting the last six and notching two assists over that spell, Pablo Hernandez is the most credible contender from the midfield melee. But only making it past the 72 minute mark twice in those six games and costing the same as De Guzman, a midrange 5.9 in FPL (6.5 in Sky Sports), the case for Hernandez might blush in the face of rigourous inquiry.